My family and I have been on a road trip from Kenya to Rwanda over the last few days (We documented the trip on this site). Yesterday we left Rwanda and started our journey back. Our last stop before leaving Kigali was the Hotel des Mille Collines, made famous by the movie, Hotel Rwanda.

They brand themselves as ‘the most famous hotel in Rwanda.’ It must be a strange disposition to have fame from such a horrific chapter of a country’s history. How do you use that to market yourself without disrespecting the pain, without bringing up the past over and over again? It’s a delicate balance.

They had a jazz band playing as families and other guests settled for Sunday afternoon lunch or played around in the pool. The sound of mellow jazz and happy children in the pool was a strange backdrop for our visit. In my mind, all I could hear were the sounds of commotion from Hotel Rwanda and looking down into the valley beyond the hotel, I thought of pain upon pain upon pain.

How did they even manage to remain open after what had happened? I couldn’t shake off the heaviness of this place. Just couldn’t. Then I realised that this hotel seemed like a heavy place for me because of the movie. For the people who lived through the genocide, this whole city is a reminder of things they would rather forget. My feelings are borne of a Hollywood rendition of their experiences. Their feelings are not from selected bits of the story but from unfiltered, uncensored reality.

Prayers. Hope. Peace.

MAIN PHOTO: The pool at the Hotel des Mille Collines,
Kigali, Rwanda.
SECOND PHOTO: The front of the Hotel des Mille Collines.
Copyright © FungaiFoto

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